Natalie Robinson: My Dominica escape

After working as a personal stylist to the stars for several years, award-winning style writer, beauty expert and broadcaster Natalie Robinson began her digital journey with the launch of her blog in 2015. The Lifestyle Collective (TLC) has proved a smash hit in Natalie’s native London, as well as across the pond and in Italy, with a reach of over 50,000 and counting. The British-born digital creator has worked with a host of luxury brands and celebrities over the years, but when she needs to switch off she heads to the tiny Caribbean nation of Dominica, where her mother was born, to recharge at the volcanic island’s spectacular natural sulphur springs.

Soufriere Sulphur Springs is a tranquil place hidden among the mountains in Dominica, where my mother is from. When I tell people I’m of Dominican heritage, they automatically think of the Dominican Republic. But Dominica is a tiny island next to Guadeloupe, which was colonised by the French. The Caribbean is obviously a popular holiday destination, especially places like Jamaica, St Lucia and Grenada, but Dominica itself is not very touristy. It has so much beauty to offer and is known as the “Nature Island”. 

Roseau, Dominica, Caribbean

The Soufriere Sulphur Springs are a must-see because they uplift and re-energise the mind, body and soul. It’s a place I go to every time I visit Dominica. My first trip to Dominica was when I was about nine years old, and I think I visited the springs on my first or second visit. All I remember was that feeling of invigoration – a very cleansing feeling. As a child, I suffered from eczema quite badly and I remember returning to the UK from Dominica and my eczema had completely cleared. The water is very clean as it’s mineralised, which is great for your skin, but can look dirty, ironically, due to the sulphur. The Soufriere Sulphur Springs are like an outdoor hot tub but surrounded by wild vegetation across a rural landscape.

My top tip is to visit the springs during the day to explore hiking trails and take in the rural aesthetic in its full glory. They were a mythical place for Amerindians and an important meeting place for the Kalinagos from the Caribbean island. However, the springs are not something that are advertised; they’re something you probably learn about via word-of-mouth recommendation rather than an internet search. You would have to know what you’re looking for if you did search them, so it’s definitely a hidden gem. I would say that it’s really important to know a local who can take you there. 

Dominica is quite underdeveloped and the roads are very rocky, and the car ride to the springs is about an hour from the capital, Roseau, so it’s imperative you know someone who can take you there. But once you visit, you’re just immersed in nature, it’s hidden away and that feeling of being away from technology is pretty amazing. I always feel more focused and relaxed after a trip to Dominica. My last trip was with my mother in around 2017. It was a family trip; my grandmother and late grandfather have a house in a place called Belfast on the island.

We visited Soufriere Sulphur Springs at night – you have to be careful not to fall into a ravine in the dark! – but the experience was amazing. I remember floating in one bath looking up at the countless twinkling stars, which you rarely see in London nowadays. It’s a special place. 

Follow Natalie on Instagram on @styleiconnat

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